Observational retrospective study of UK national success, risks and costs for 319,105 IVF/ICSI and 30,669 IUI treatment cycles

Gulam Bahadur, Roy Homburg, Judith E. Bosmans, Judith A.F. Huirne, Peter Hinstridge, Kanna Jayaprakasan, Paul Racich, Rakib Alam, Ioannis Karapanos, Afeeza Illahibuccus, Ansam Al-Habib, Eric Jauniaux

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OBJECTIVE: To compare success rates, associated risks and cost-effectiveness between intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF). DESIGN: Retrospective observational study. SETTING: The UK from 2012 to 2016. PARTICIPANTS: Data from Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's freedom of information request for 2012-2016 for IVF/ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)and IUI as practiced in 319 105 IVF/ICSI and 30 669 IUI cycles. Direct-cost calculations for maternal and neonatal expenditure per live birth (LB) was constructed using the cost of multiple birth model, with inflation-adjusted Bank of England index-linked data. A second direct-cost analysis evaluating the incremental cost-effective ratio (ICER) was modelled using the 2016 national mean (baseline) IVF and IUI success rates. OUTCOME MEASURES: LB, risks from IVF and IUI, and costs to gain 1 LB. RESULTS: This largest comprehensive analysis integrating success, risks and costs at a national level shows IUI is safer and more cost-effective than IVF treatment.IVF LB/cycle success was significantly better than IUI at 26.96% versus 11.49% (p<0.001) but the IUI success is much closer to IVF at 2.35:1, than previously considered. IVF remains a significant source of multiple gestation pregnancy (MGP) compared with IUI (RR (Relative Risk): 1.45 (1.31 to 1.60), p<0.001) as was the rate of twins (RR: 1.58, p<0.001).In 2016, IVF maternal and neonatal cost was £115 082 017 compared with £2 940 196 for IUI and this MGP-related perinatal cost is absorbed by the National Health Services. At baseline tariffs and success rates IUI was £42 558 cheaper than IVF to deliver 1LB with enhanced benefits with small improvements in IUI. Reliable levels of IVF-related MGP, OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome), fetal reductions and terminations are revealed. CONCLUSION: IUI success rates are much closer to IVF than previously reported, more cost-effective in delivering 1 LB, and associated with lower risk of complications for maternal and neonatal complications. It is prudent to offer IUI before IVF nationally.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere034566
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2020


  • IUI
  • IVF
  • cost efficiency
  • risks
  • stakeholders
  • success

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